a1 Institute for Materials Research, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, United Kingdom
Powders of the solid lead-free piezoelectric ceramic solution [Na0.5K0.5NbO3]1−x–[LiTaO3]x, x = 0.06, were produced using a mixed-oxide process. Phase analysis indicated the formation of an orthorhombic solid solution at 800 °C, which coexisted with intermediate binary niobate and tantalate phases. A tetragonal main-phase solid solution was formed at ≥950 °C, along with minor quantities of a tungsten bronze phase. Addition of 3 wt% excess alkali carbonates to the starting powders allowed the orthorhombic solid solution to be retained to 1100 °C and prevented formation of the secondary tungsten bronze phase. Elemental chemical analysis confirmed changes in alkali oxide composition, consistent with volatilization losses, particularly of potassium and lithium oxides. Phase stability near the reported morphotropic phase boundary is shown to be sensitive to alkali oxide content.
(Received November 1 2007)
(Accepted April 16 2007)